How to use Google Reader

June 4, 2007 at 6:25 am | Posted in Emmitsburg, Frederick, Laying it the line ;-), Mac Hints | Leave a comment

Did you know that its possible to track over 600 websites for new information by simply signing up for a free google account with google If you already have a google account such as or any other google service you are ready to go as one google signup is all you need for all google services.

Google Reader is by far the biggest and fastest growing RSS subscription service.

If you have broadband, here is a link to a site that has a video of Robert Scoble using google reader to monitor over 600 web sites for new information and the video will help you understand what its all about.


Did you know that the Frederick County Govt website has an RSS subscription service?

Did you know the News Post has RSS for their forums and for all their news stories?

Did you know you can read the FNP before it hits your doorstep by using RSS feeds (subscriptions) on their site? And its free and without advertisements!

Did you know that you can make your own RSS subscription by using Google news and search for a word or phrase that you are interested in.

For example you could put the words “kai hagen” or “Jan gardner” in google news ( just an example Kai 😉
Go to and type the words kai hagen,
click “search news” and then right click on “RSS” on the lower left side of the page and choose “copy link” and add (paste) that resulting link to google reader subscription box. Click on the word “add”. Every new hit on the phrase “kai hagen” or “jan gardner” would be delivered to you automatically in reader without going to google to search.

Below is the resulting “kai hagen” RSS feed to subscribe to in google reader: On the google reader page, just click “add subscription” and then copy and paste the link below in the subscription box, click on “add” and you have your first subscription!!

I use the words Thurmont, Emmitsburg, Taneytown, Gettysburg, Brunswick, Frederick city, Frederick county, as news terms in Google News and copy and paste the resulting RSS link into google reader subscription box and I get a “river of news” about all mentions of those towns anywhere in the world!

The best use of google reader personally is using the RSS feeds of blogs (weB logs) to monitor for new posts (articles) on that blog without having to go to that blog site each time I want to check. The blog is checked automatically for me.
Here is an example of a blog to monitor

Google Reader just try it! Its easy.

For more information my email contactify account is:


Why Blog? Why RSS? Why Google Reader?

May 3, 2007 at 9:18 am | Posted in borderlines, Frederick, Laying it the line ;-), Mac Hints | Leave a comment

Here is a new article on a County Commissioner Blog
from North Carolina, just caught by my
Link:to site
Perhaps Frederick County Commissioners could have their own personal blogs using The blog would be easy to maintain by simply copying and pasting their comments that they place on the Kai Hagen site to their blog. One possible commissioner blog name would be as an example;
Commissioners posting to a personal blog might interest more folks to sign up for access to to read the give and take and the debates on hot button issues.

The RSS online application is really getting much better. It enables monitoring web sites for new info without using bookmarks or obsessively refreshing to check for the latest news on that web site. (even Frederick county govt and FNP forums have RSS) The news info just flows via google reader aggregating it for me.
If you are not using google reader(online) or another RSS application(desktop) such as Netnewswire lite (its free) or my favorite which costs $18 is Newsfire. (For mac only.)
But since has improved so much I find I use Newsfire less and less. I was able to export all my subscriptions in Newsfire to google reader with no problems.

How to use RSS. Tutorial with video links:

Perhaps I am preaching to the choir here but I had to try out this new feature just added to google reader, which makes it so easy to email an interesting “catch” that my reader just caught, to friends who might be interested in that article.

If you want more info or help with either setting up a wordpress blog or using email me at

Comcast Cable vs Satellite Service

April 23, 2007 at 2:52 pm | Posted in Emmitsburg, Frederick, Laying it the line ;-) | Leave a comment

“Satellite is (presently) the only competitor in Frederick County to Comcast.”

With the exception of local access channels such as County govt. and Mt. St Marys and Emmitsburg public access I get (almost) every program that cable offers and programming that cable does not carry.
And the County Commissioners are seeking alternative ways to broadcast their meetings to non cable subscribers such as streaming video using broadband DSL, or storing video of their meetings on computer servers for downloading or providing DVD recordings of the meetings such as Emmitsburg Govt. is now providing.

I have been a satellite customer (Dish network) since 1996. Satellite was the only way I could get non-broadcast programming such as ESPN or HBO etc.
Frederick Cable was asked, but would not build cable to my house because cable companies only “cherry pick” the best and easiest areas to service.

Ironically cable tv companies receive much of their programming by satellite and Comcast then for example sends the signals by microwave, coax or fiber to Thurmont and Emmitsburg.

Dish Network and Direct TV have no cable or coax infrastructure needed to get the signal to homes. Comcast has typical maintenance that electric and telephone companies have such as damage to electric, telephone and cable from storms or accidents.

Dish Network service has been 99.9% perfect for me for more than 10 years. Perfect DIGITAL crystal clear picture with only an occasional extremely heavy rain causing a 5 minute outage.

FCC requirements on satellite companies do exist. These requirements as one example require condo associations and satellite installers to cooperate on the most optimium dish location on the condo.
Optimum dish location in Frederick county means having a unblocked, clear view of the south west sky at an elevation of 30-34 degrees.
(Hint: An easy way to determine a dish location at your home is find a location, on the ground if possible, with no obstructions blocking the sunlight causing a shadow at about 3:30PM. Another easy way is to look at your neighbors dish at that time of day when the sunlight is “right down the barrel” as indicated by the shadow of the receiving arm centered on the dish. Your home’s proposed dish location will be the same configuration .)

Also the FCC weighed in very strongly on a proposed merger of Dish and Direct TV.
After considerable public comment and industry comment the FCC ruled a merger would lessen competition so the answer was NO to Dish and Direct TV merging.

Cable companies have been allowed by the FCC, mega mergers and buyouts for years. The reason Comcast is so huge is the number of cable companies they have bought or merged such as the Adelphia acquisition

To summerize satellite service:
I get more programming for less money with perfect DIGITAL picture 99.9% of the time. So how is your cable service?

Frederick County Maryland Hot Topics Forums

April 2, 2007 at 8:16 am | Posted in Emmitsburg, Frederick, Laying it the line ;-) | Leave a comment

Current forum topics on with number of comments for each thread. If you want to join the free for all email: for a name and password. The number in front of the date is the number of comments to date.

7 Thurmont: Master Plan update, Annexation proposals, Region Plan update… 141 Apr 02, 2007 10:00
38 Lennie’s Proposal to Solve Traffic Congestion Via Electronic Tolls 52 Apr 02, 2007 08:55
50 Frederick County Strategic Plan FY 2007 – FY2011 2 Apr 02, 2007 07:34
15 Charter Government: Yes or No, Now or Later… 53 Apr 02, 2007 00:55
13 Solid Waste Management 79 Apr 01, 2007 22:27
5 Frederick County CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM budget: Fiscal Years 2008-2013 43 Apr 01, 2007 21:26
24 Town of New Market 33 Apr 01, 2007 18:09
39 How Do We Heal The Frederick County Democratic Party? 31 Apr 01, 2007 12:52
48 East of East Street 0 Apr 01, 2007 09:55
47 What’s up with the Constant Criticism? 13 Apr 01, 2007 08:56
16 Brunswick 48 Mar 31, 2007 22:36
26 Bad Etiquette I know, but I have a problem with the very existence of this forum 62 Mar 31, 2007 10:07
28 Proposed Noise Ordinance For Frederick County 34 Mar 30, 2007 23:34
1 Welcome! (Please drop in here and let folks know you’ve joined the forum.) 82 Mar 30, 2007 19:18
45 Just say NO! 22 Mar 30, 2007 14:53
17 Emmitsburg 11 Mar 30, 2007 14:22
35 Parks and Recreation (and other non-ag open space) 19 Mar 30, 2007 10:11
44 Things I like most about living in Frederick County 11 Mar 30, 2007 10:04
23 Big Box Stores 23 Mar 29, 2007 15:16
43 Thurmont Region Plan: Emmitsburg 2 Mar 28, 2007 16:09
18 Why don’t more people run for elected office…or exercise their right to vote? 49 Mar 28, 2007 08:01
20 POTENTIAL Change to the Myer’s Farm Annexation 46 Mar 27, 2007 17:22
19 Climate Change (not just a “global” issue) 31 Mar 26, 2007 22:46
32 What Must We Demand From Development? 13 Mar 26, 2007 21:10
41 Population Growth 6 Mar 25, 2007 16:02
3 Revisiting the New Market Region Plan 15 Mar 24, 2007 12:11
42 Corporate Welfare Alert – $10 million Low-Interest, Tax-Free Loan 11 Mar 23, 2007 17:01
22 City of Frederick 5 Mar 23, 2007 14:04
10 Traffic Solutions 36 Mar 22, 2007 16:03
27 An EARLY look at the next BOCC election 26 Mar 20, 2007 23:11
37 Agricultural Preservation (preserving farms, farming and our rural landscape) 2 Mar 19, 2007 12:18
21 The META topic: Discussing the forums. 15 Mar 19, 2007 04:21
34 Questions from the MEDIA 0 Mar 15, 2007 11:53
8 Eaglehead at Lake Linganore (Land Stewards and our oldest and largest PUD) 7 Mar 15, 2007 07:00
14 Effective Citizen Input 16 Mar 14, 2007 17:19
33 Eminent Domain 0 Mar 14, 2007 08:56
25 Legislative Issues and Updates 6 Mar 13, 2007 15:54
29 Frederick City HOPE VI 2 Mar 13, 2007 11:05
12 Developer funded public schools 25 Mar 12, 2007 17:35
9 Mt. Airy 2 Mar 09, 2007 08:16
6 The Ethics Bill 4 Mar 06, 2007 15:38
11 Schools: BOE, FCPS, old schools, new schools, redistricting, etc… 4 Mar 06, 2007 11:23
4 Frederick County OPERATING BUDGET Fiscal Year 2008 0 Feb 24, 2007 13:03
You may mark all the items as seen or as new. You may manage items individually; or you may request e-mail notification of new activity.

Blogging Mayor of Roundlake

March 28, 2007 at 7:58 pm | Posted in Apple Inc, Emmitsburg, Frederick, Laying it the line ;-), Mac Hints | Leave a comment

Various tidbits:

1. Blogging Mayor Bill Gentes of Roundlake sent me this power point slide show (link below) about blogging and public officials.

2. Yahoo just announced free unlimited email storage coming soon.

3. The best photo site IMO is which requires a yahoo account. See and click on the word “map” to see the geo location of the photos.

You can post photos for free up to a limit and then buy a pro account if you need more storage.

4. Open Office is a free Microsoft Office replacement. Open Office Files are interchangeable with Microsoft Office.

5. NeoOffice is Macintosh optimized Open Office and free and a new version is out and files are compatible, interchangeable files with Microsoft Office.

6. If you want to see an impassioned discussions, all related to Frederick County issues go to

to sign up using your real name. See what Mayor Burns of Thurmont is writing.

Frederick County Commissioners step toe in the 21st Century

March 27, 2007 at 8:00 am | Posted in Emmitsburg, Frederick, Laying it the line ;-) | Leave a comment

Commissioner Hagen;
Wow, thank you for getting webcasts going:-). I suggested this in an email to the the former (and present commissioners remaining) probably a year ago when the cable franchise was being discussed. Also Emmitsburg has a $30,000 system that only broadcasts to cable subscribers; which by the way is going down as satellite dishes proliferate. Perhaps this service should be offered to all municipalities streaming to Frederick county’s server over EDVO (as is doing) and have the same live stream as Frederick will have.
I also suggested that perhaps CEO Charley Ergen of Dish network might be able to offer Frederick county space on one of their satellites to fulfill their public service obligations. They can narrowcast to certain zip codes and black out the rest of the country. Same goes for Direct TV.
Also it seems to me that when and if Comcast is allowed to wire (fiber) the county so should AT&T and Verizon FIOS be allowed to wire simultaneously.
Or WI MAX and Broadband over Power lines should be allowed also just as broadband over telephone wires now.
Also any county franchise should require that any county resident who request service from anywhere in the county should be served by some means. Otherwise the franchisees will just “cherry pick” the easiest to serve and leave the rest of the county residents unserved.

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